Your Customers Are Changing...Is Your Business Ready For The Next Generation?
Your customers are evolving. They are more sophisticated than they were 20 years ago and even if they aren’t experts with regards to the products and services you provide, once they have spent time with you they are checking out what you have said to see how accurate it is. With the internet at their fingertips they are able to gain knowledge in ways they could never have done 20 years ago.
I remember when I was at college (I won’t say how many years ago that was…….. cough cough!) If I wanted information for my coursework or to increase my knowledge on a particular subject I had to go to the library. I don’t mean go to the library to sit on a laptop and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi like my daughter and her friends do now! I mean go to the library to read books in order to obtain the information I needed. The same information it would take me hours to find in various library books back then, can now be found in a matter of seconds by typing a keyword or a search phrase into a search engine such as Google.
The internet has changed the world forever!
My teenage daughter’s generation will never understand what my generation used to have to go through in order to get hold of information. Information that she can now obtain online, within a matter of seconds. The Internet is the reason your customers have changed, and will continue to change! Your future customers are my daughter’s generation! And thanks to the internet they are a generation of extremely informed individuals.
Using the internet to find a product or service that we need is already something most of us do daily however there are the odd few people (usually from the older generation) that still choose traditional methods to find what they need.
Unfortunately those people are a dying breed and within the next few years it will be second nature to absolutely everyone to find what they need via the internet, whether it be a product or service or just help and advice. Let me give you an example. Most days my Grandfather walks to the shop to buy a newspaper, my daughter would never dream of doing this! She simply checks the news via the internet by looking at popular online news sites. Which makes me wonder…….. By the time my daughter is my age will newspapers even exist? Something tells me they are most likely to be a thing of the past.
So if you are a business that relies solely on traditional marketing methods such as newspaper ads, now is a good time to start looking into online marketing methods, and preparing for your future generation of customers. It’s imperative that you do this to insure the survival of your business.
You need to have a strong online presence!
Your new generation of customers won’t simply take your word for it, they will check out any information you provide them with online. And they will also check out what others are saying about you online. One thing I have noticed about this new generation is that they really care about the opinions of others. And they know how to take advantage of sites such as YouTube for research purposes.
Before my teenage daughter purchases anything she checks for online reviews, she’ll also check out the companies she plans to buy from on Social Media, to see if they have any offers or extra photos of the products etc. In order to sell to this generation you need to have a great online presence and a USP! Something that will make your business stand out from the crowd and encourage them to want to choose your business over your competitors.
For example having a well-known YouTuber reviewing or promoting your products would definitely be a hit with the new generation of customers. Years ago it was all about celebrity endorsements, now if you are a popular YouTuber you are a celebrity in your own right. Look at Zoella, she has her own line of products including perfumes, body lotions and books.
She’s made a HUGE success of herself just by being a YouTuber and any company she promotes is almost GUARNATEED to see a HUGE spike in sales. If a young woman can make such a success of herself just by creating a YouTube channel there is nothing stopping your business from doing the same!
Your customers are now working harder and longer!
Your customers and potential new customers are now working longer, harder and smarter than they were before. I often receive emails from my clients as early as 4 or 5 am in the morning and as late as 12pm. Your customers work hard and they will expect you to do the same! In the old days most people worked standard 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday working hours, and many people still do! However with the introduction of flexi time and longer working days, it is becoming more and more common for people to be working outside of what is considered to be the normal working day.
Bear this in mind when writing your marketing strategy and organising your business. Think about when your particular target market is most likely to be available. It has been said that the next generation are going to be working longer and harder than any generation before them, it has also been said that within the next 10 years more and more people will begin to work from home. Something else to keep in mind when it comes to your business plans for the future.
They will write reviews…..Good and Bad!
Unlike years ago when a customer complaint involved just you, your customer and if you were unlucky their friends/family and anyone they mentioned it to in the local area. A customer complaint can now involve people all over the world! If a customer is unhappy with your business’ products or services they can inform thousands of people within a matter of weeks by posting on online review sites, or on your Google Plus page etc. The next generation are only going to be more vocal, when my daughter was just 9 years old I noticed she had been on her laptop for a while so I asked her what she was doing, I’ll never forget her response…………Writing a review Mummy she said! I couldn’t believe it! I asked her to show me the screen and sure enough there it was a review for her new D.S. game!
Because of this you need to know how to deal with online complaints or bad reviews. You need a strategy in place so that, should the worst happen and your business receives a bad review, you are equipped with the right tools to deal with the matter, in the most professional way possible. And in a way that reflects well on you and your business. Do not allow your business’ reputation to be tarnished by failing to deal with a negative review in the correct manner. Here are some great tips on how to deal with negative reviews: 3 Ways to Deal with Bad Reviews
Reviews are not all bad. In the same way you can receive negative reviews online, you can also receive positive reviews. I’m sure the majority of the reviews your business receives will be positive. Positive reviews are great for your business, as they are free adverts for your business, just like a bad review can reach thousands of people within a matter of weeks so can a good review. So if you do receive a good review make sure you promote it and let everyone know! You can do this via your social media channels and your website. Remember to publicly thank the person for the review too! By responding to their review.
They don’t put down their phones!
The new generation are gadget addicts and they are extremely attached to all of their devices, but none more than their phones! Mobile phones are no longer seen as a luxury, they are seen as a necessity! Since the invention of smart phones, people have become even more reliant on them, my daughter and her friends are never without a phone in their hands! What does this mean for the future of your business? It means you need to ensure you have a mobile marketing strategy in place. For some great tips on mobile marketing visit: Small Business Guide To Mobile Marketing and get a free guide to mobile marketing. Mobile Apps are another thing that you should consider looking into for your business: What Can A Mobile App Actually DO For My Business
Your buyers are now 100% in control!
Your customers are now 100 per cent in control of who they buy from and when! The internet provides them with the tools they need to make an informed decision about which products and services they want to invest their time and money into. The internet has the power to make you and your company a hero or a zero with great ease! It’s your job to make sure your business adapts to your customer’s changing needs and is a hero. I’m sure most of you are! But I wanted to write an article that would serve as a reminder of how important it is to remember to move with the times, we cannot afford to stand still in this digital age!
My daughter’s generation are your future customers, they will have completely different expectations to that of past generations. Let’s make sure we stay one step ahead, by making sure our businesses are ready to meet their expectations when the time comes! Be prepared for the future, this new generation of customers holds the future of your business in there gadget filled hands! The tech generation are coming! You and your business need to be ready for them!